Monday, March 28, 2011

An assortment...

Tax season is here, which means that I am pushed to my limit for time.  Then to complicate matters, of course I over scheduled everyone for the spring.  Mr. Boy has Baseball...
 which he is fantastic at.  This was taken just after he scored his first run. 
Even Mr. Man is joining in the fun down on the field helping out with some sideline coaching.
It's not all roses at our house , though.   I mean check out AK, she is preparing for a radiation cloud... or actually she is just showing off her recent injury.  You can't see it?  See how her right index finger is kind of poking straight down...  on that finger is... *are you sitting down?*  a hangnail!  AK has a flair for the dramatics, which works out well since we live in the Entertainment Capital of the World. 
 Other than AK's debilitating hangnail, she has exciting stuff going on. After dinkering around with some kiddie dance classes for the last few years, AK is in a ballet class for "super serious mega star ballerina's."  She loves it and leaps around the house in a leotard 7 days a week.    
Is it April 15th yet?  I'm ready to kick back for some R&R. Bora Bora anyone?  Or perhaps just a week hanging with Rupert out by the pool?  Whose with me?

Friday, March 18, 2011

St. Patricks Day Tradition

Mr. Boy is Super Mega Irish, and we met his beloved birthmom on Saint Patrick's Day, eight years ago.  I can't help but celebrate the day in Mr. Boy's honor.  AK has some Irish blood and so does Mr. Man, so it's a day worth celebrating.  Every year the kids look forward the mischievous leprechauns who visit and make mischief.  This year they left cookies for breakfast among their footprints. 
 Their footprints were everywhere.
We made a leprechaun trap which was a bowl of Lucky Charms with sticky blue tape in the bottom to make their feet stick. The leprechauns write all over the place and wrote on the bowl, "It's a trap, the boy must be Irish!"
 They even drew on the window with one of my favorite items of all time.  Crayola Window Markers! Look even the Chalet is festive for the holiday with it's green fence! 
Those pesky leprechauns turned our milk green...
 and stole our bowls, leaving tiny mutant green ones behind.
 Then the leprechauns switched all the cereals around.  We thought we were pouring Lucky Charms and out pops Cheerios.   Oooo that made the kids so mad, they get Lucky Charms one day a year, but we finally found it in the Organic Hemp Flax Oatmeal Wheatie Granola Cereal Box that we gag down eat the rest of the year.
The Juans were a little baffled by our festivities, but after the kids chased them around the yard trying to pinch them, they quickly adopted the holiday and sported a green hammer and green handled pliers. 
 Happy St. Patricks Day, may the luck of the Irish follow you all year long.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Denial: Not a river in Egypt

**Written One Month Ago**
Here I am sitting at my mom's house, I think they call this a vigil.  My mom is "actively transistioning", I don't know exactly what that means but I know she is dying.

In November, my mom sat my oldest brother and I down  to tell us that her breast cancer has come back and was everywhere.  I tried to mask my emotions and remain strong in front of my mom.  I excused myself later and sobbed in the bathroom saying, "I don't want to do this."  This is my mama, and she is broken so bad the doctor can't fix her. 

In desperate times, desperate measures are taken.  My mom started an alternative medical treatment that had shown promise.  Western medicine couldn't save her, so we turned to whatever medicine that claimed it could.  It required waking up several times during the night to take supplements.  My dear sweet dad who never thought he would live long enough to bury his wife, was convinced this treatment would save his loving companion.  In the past few weeks, it became evident that nothing would save my mom. 
My dad pulled me aside just two weeks ago and said, "Your mom needs a new purse, one with pockets. I would love to get her one for Valentine's Day, will you please buy her a fancy one for me?"  
My mom had not left the house in a week, barely gotten out of bed, and was eating two bites of food each meal.  She would not  be leaving the house with her purse the next time she left.  I knew it, my brother knew it, and the medical staff new it.  My dad may have known it, but he did not believe it.  

What do you do?  Buy the purse?  Refuse my father's request?  I wrestled with this for nights, knowing this was just a display of my father's deep denial.  How do you tell someone the love of their life is dying?  Who am I to crush my dad's hope?  How can I help my dad accept the reality of the situation?  Help him grieve?

**Fast Forward 1 month later**

On the Thursday before she died, my mom begged me to help my dad understand that she was dying, she wanted to stop the alternative treatment.  She was ready to die, and didn't want my dad to feel like she had given up on the one thing that could save her.  I looked in her eyes as they pleaded with me. My first reaction was to say, "Mommy, I don't know what to do, I'm seven, you're the mom, tell me what to do?"

I constantly feel like I am seven, I want my mommy.  That whole night I didn't sleep, I wrestled with the task my mom had asked for my assistance in. How on earth do I help my dad come to this realization?  Do I burst his bubble?  My father, is very stubborn, a trait he passed on to me.  What would happen if he dug in his heels and said, "No, this treatment is saving her."   The next morning I called the Hospice Nurse to do our morning check in.  I told the Hospice nurse my concern and she said, the worlds greatest phrase.

Wendy, that's not your problem anymore.  That is my problem, I will handle it.

Where have these hospice nurse's been my whole life?  I just want them to follow me around and remove all my problems from my life.  "Drats, they are out of salami at the store."  Hospice Nurse,  "Wendy, that's not your problem anymore.  That is my problem, I will handle it."

The hospice nurse sat both my parents down and had a very tough conversation, where my dad came to realize that his wife was dying, nothing could save her.  Hospice had come into my parents home at the request of my brother and I, it was not something my father wanted.  Somehow over the course of two weeks, this angel of a hospice nurse had wiggled her way into my father's heart.  He trusted her, and so when she said, "It's time to let her go in peace," my dad trusted her.  It was the right thing to do. 
Letting her go in peace was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. However, hospice provided great comfort in the darkest time. I love this picture of our hospice nurse comforting my dad after my mom passed.   When my mom was given the peace of mind that she didn't need to fight anymore she succumbed quickly, having no fear. She was ready to put this all behind her, and we were ready to let her go.   It was so hard.  I didn't want to do this.  

Monday, March 14, 2011

Birthday Bliss

A little while ago, I had a birthday.  It was a lovely day.  Mr. Man had taken the day off, and did the morning rush with the kid, letting me sleep in.   Around noon, he popped his head in and said, "Um, good morning, I don't mean to tell you how to spend your birthday, but it's noon and we have lunch reservations at 12:30.   I was mortified I'd slept the day away, but at the same time... who doesn't love to sleep in!
Mr. Man and I went out for a lunch while the kids were at school.
 I made a wish, but truthfully, the thing I want most is being worked on in the backyard! A pool!   Cinnamon came over and brought over this assortment of the MOST delicious mini cupcakes. Seriously, they were perfect, we cut them up and everyone got to have a taste of the different flavors and we didn't feel like we had gorged. These cupcakes had the perfect frosting to cake ratio. 
I'm not exactly sure what I'm telling Cinnamon about here, but it's obviously something that makes her grimace. I love that Mr. Man took these pictures of Cinnamon and I, he puts up with a lot of our hi-jinks and is a good sport.
Cinnamon knows me better than I know myself sometimes, and she is very patient.  When we first started looking at houses in LA, I kept looking in this one area, where we could have horses.  Cinnamon kept saying, "I think you would really like to live in the hills."  I kept saying, "No, what if I want to have a horse?"  She just rolled her eyes. Well, we put several offers in on "Horse Properties" and none of them worked out.  She was right, we love our house in the hills.   If I had a horse friendly house, I would have never met Rupert! *Gasp* I just can't imagine my life without Rupert. Plus, it's so remote where we live, I seriously don't think anyone would notice if we had a horse.  Maybe that should have been my birthday wish!

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Mr. Man's Vacation

Catching up... from a few weeks ago.
It's no secret Mr. Man works very hard.  He works long hours and takes phone calls at all hours.  I'm grateful for his diligence and ambition because it provides a lovely life and fantastic roof over our heads.  One year ago, Mr. Man's dear friend and colleague, Mr. P passed away suddenly at work from a heart attack. It was a horrible, traumatic, ordeal.  Mr. Man rarely takes a vacation, and when he does it's almost always cut short.   So this year, he scheduled a week off during the one year anniversary of his friend's passing as a way to honor his friend, who worked too hard.  What does one do with a week off?

Mr. Man took his lovely wife out to a swanky lunch and then took a picture outside next to the garbage can to document the occasion.
Mr. Man also played Mr. Mom while I ran out to be with my mom.   For this I am very grateful. While I was away, Mr. Man got to know the UPS man, and got a feel for just how much I love Amazon Prime.  I'm not kidding when I say, I'm about two orders away from an Intervention. 
Mr. Man also learned that Mr. Boy has inherited his mother's online shopping addiction and knows how to order clothes from his favorite online store without anyone's help! Thankfully, he only ordered two pairs of Relaxipants (tm).  
Mr. Man also arranged for a first class outing to the LA Zoo for us.  To celebrate, I didn't do my hair and I decided to put on the worlds ugliest baggy sweater.  Besides seeing the new elephant exhibit,
 we saw the giraffe's up close,

and admired the Flamingos.  When I was 4, I visited the LA Zoo, and the only thing I remember from that trip was seeing the Flamingos and my dad saying, "This is the same spot they filmed the opening credits for "Three's Company"  Suzanne Somers stood right here and pretended to be a Flamingo."
This bear popped out only to nudge his salad back into his cave.  He wasn't feeling very social, I have a feeling if you tried to "friend" him on Facebook, he'd say No Thanks.
Oh, did I mention that our guide for the day was none other than Jack Hanna
Actually, he was there filming his show.  I grew up watching him on Mutual Of Omaha, and love his bits with my boyfriend, David Letterman. Surprisingly, my limp hair and horrid sweater didn't repulse Jack from spending some time with us. Mr. Man had no idea who Jack was, but just went along with it, which is pretty much standard procedure  for going anywhere with me.

The rest of Mr. Man's vacation... was pretty uneventful, which for Mr. Man, is just how he likes it.